after watching the inimitable tilda swinton in ‘i am love’, i was haunted by the 30’s villa necchi campiglio by architect piero portaluppi. it got me thinking about the mainstream influences of design between the wars and most notably the tastemakers to the european neo-aristocratic set; émile ruhlmann immediately sprang to mind. his departure from the arts & crafts was severe and echoes the sentiments of chanel; ‘i like fashion to go down to the street, but i can’t accept that it should originate there.’
A clientele of artists, intellectuals and connoisseurs of modest means is very congenial, but they are not in a position to pay for all the research, the experimentation, the testing that is needed to develop a new design. Only the very rich can pay for what is new and they alone can make it fashionable. Fashions don’t start among the common people. Along with satisfying a desire for change, fashion’s real purpose is to display wealth. Whether you want it or not, a style is just a craze. And fashion does not come up from humble backgrounds.
famed for his wonderous furnishings in rare finishes, he admitted to the exorbitant cost of producing these fine pieces as ‘digging holes in the moon’, Émile- Jacques Ruhlmann also left us with a lasting decorative aesthetic that has lasted many incarnations, only to resurface and inspire time and again.